tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 21, 2014 3:00pm-3:31pm PST
officers, but to denounce a hideous attack that's left this city shaken. martin? >> that vigil is about to get under way. when it does, we will bring it to you live. you're in the "cnn newsroom." i'm martin savage in new york. these are difficult days. right now in new york city, it's a somber day. two officers were gunned down in the line of duty. we are waiting for what's going to be a candlelight vigil for the officers raphael ramos and wenjin lui. earlier today at that same spot, the new york city police commissioner william bratton laid a breathe where police say
a man approached an nypd patrol car from the rear and fired into the window fatally wounding both officers. the secretary of homeland security was there with the police commissioner. >> this has got to be every cop's worst nightmare. we've all got to show support for the law enforcement, and this is a tough day for the nypd. and that's why i'm here to show support for the men and women of the new york city police department today. >> the short time ago, family members and friends of one of the slain policemen, officer raphael ramos appeared at the vigil site. >> i hope and pray that we can reflect on this tragic loss of lives that have occurred so we can move forward and find an amicable path to a peaceful co-existence. >> we're here also to support the ramos family and the police department as well. we want to send a message out. we don't want the city of new york to think that anyone is
against the police department. everyone here with me tonight is for the nypd, and that's a clear message that we're sending. >> so, how does new york begin to try to heal from the growing divides and come together as a city? let's bring in our panel. new york city councilman, jamani williams, former nypd detector gill alba, former nypd detective, harry hauck. and special correspondent for the "daily beast" michael daley. it feels like new york is splintering, i suppose maybe that's one way of putting it, people are falling into different camps, different sides, even the leadership. how bad is it? what can you do? >> i think for the moment, what we all should be doing is praying and supporting these families that there were two human beings that were assassina assassinated, executed summar y summarily. there's no one who can say anything about that except we need to support those families.
this abhorrent act can't be tolerated by anyone. >> it's been asked this be a moment of reflection, a break in whatever feelings people to have reflect on their positions and move forward. >> that's a very good idea. it's hard to do that when people push into the conversation other things, accusations of people being anti-cop, it's a baseless accusation. we keep hearing that. it's hard to do that. maybe right now we can stand still for a second because real people are really dying. we're taking this one act and doing a lot of things with it. there was a young man who for all accounts had a troubled past. he actually shot a young black female before this, before coming up here. he was from out of town. there's a lot of things to look at as we're going through. what we can agree on is this act was superbly outrageously -- i mean, i don't even know what the word is. no one can sit there and say, these officers who wear a uniform to protect us should have been executed, assassinated like that while on their lunch
break. that's what we need to focus on i believe. >> michael daley, i want to bring you in. you and i were together, actually, when you were informed of this horrible news. i just remember immediately the change in your demeanor. is this a moment where we, i say we, that a city, can reflect, a nation, too, and sort of, i don't know, hit a reset button or somehow renew again a conversation rather than the shouting and the anger? >> well, i think it's incumbent upon all of us to ensure that these officers did not die in vain. i think one of the terrible things is that before they were murdered, they were part of a police department that saved the city. it really transformed the city of new york into the safest, big city of america. they're talking about bringing the barclays center, the democratic convention, that
barc barclays wouldn't be there if the police didn't make this a safer place. they sat in that car feeling like they were in a torn city, and i think it's incumbent upon us now to make the surviving officers and their families feel that they are appreciated, they're respected, and they're honored and what i keep thinking about as i see the cops out here tonight, every one of them has a family sitting at home knowing that it could have been any cop in the city who was shot and knowing their loved ones are out there now in that uniform protecting us. >> uh-huh. i want to play for all of us now actually the commissioner william bratton and the comments he made talking about the suspect's mindset. take a listen. >> most of his postings and rants are on the instagram account, and what we're seeing from this right now is anger against the government. there is one where he burned the flag and made some statements. there's others with talks of anger at the police. he specifically mentions michael
brown and eric garner. and other postings as well of self-despair, anger at himself or where his wife is right now. >> that actually was not commissioner bratton. it was the chief of detectives who held the press conference this afternoon. updating the investigation. but you heard the comments there on the mindset. michael daley, again, to you, do you think ismaaiyl brinsley was mentally unstable, someone who snapped or recent events pushed him into or over the edge? >> i think he was already over the edge and once over there, he latched on to something. his facebook posting before he started, talked about killing b pigs, he said i wanted to do something right in my life, be known for doing something right but my past is haunting me. this is a guy who reached the end and all of a sudden i can -- we're talking about him now. we wouldn't be talking about him now if he hadn't done that. >> let me ask you this, do you
fear as a former detective with nypd and harry, chime in on this, too, that this is a trend? in other words, other people may be inspired however horribly or think this will hopefully with a one-time-only? >> yeah, i think it's going to be a one-time-only. however, i think the police department just today received something from an 18-year-old in tennessee saying he's going to come up and kill two coop copsw york. there's no crime there. they can't do anything to him at this point. you know, just by that alone. let me tell you about the police department, when somebody gets killed like that. i had people call me who were on 50 years ago, to the present time and all that. this is etched in the police officers', nypd's mind for the rest of their lives. from the beginning, to the end, to the new police officers, these guys will be there for all the police departments. all these people that got killed all the way across the line and got assassinated the same way, the cops will be in their hearts
and etched in their minds that this happened to them. you know, they go through all these emotions. one is, of course, shock, when it first happens, then, you know, anger which you can see pat lynch, you know, come out with that. there's a lot of emotions and hopefully it calms down. >> and would you agree that the emotions here need to ratchet back? >> well, one, the emotions are understandable, as was mentioned, one was a husband and a father. other one was a newlywed. >> the police officers. >> i can understand every police officer having this etched in their mind. i think all of us have sympathy for that. all of us need to fully understand that. what i'm also hoping is that we can ratchet back some of the ways we are talking about things. there are real issues people are trying to discuss that have some legitimacy. >> you mean the rhetoric or protests? what needs to be ratcheted back? >> i keep hearing the mayor, anti-cop, and other people,
anti-cop, and no one can point to anything that's ever been said that was anti-cop. there are issues that have been discussed. my hope is that everybody can come around the table and discuss those issues while agreeing upon them so we can agree that what happened is beyond anything that anybody in their reasonable mind can say would happen. we should also agree that there are very real issues that we have to discuss and do it in a way that makes sense and civil and helps us move forward. >> harry, i know you want to chime in, but we're going to take a break for a moment here. our panel is going to stay right here. we're going to show you the live pictures now of the vigil that is taking place. you can see the crowds that have shown up now on the streets. and this is right in the area where those officers were killed.
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slain new york police department officers. they were killed yesterday afternoon. this is actually in brooklyn and it's very near the intersection of tompkins and myrtle. that is right now today i went to that scene, it's just a place, it's not like a -- it's just so nondescript which makes it hard to believe what happened there, but a memorial has been springing up and clearly it's a gathering point for many in the community. so we'll continue to watch this very poignant imagery here of people from all over new york, could be all over the area, that have come to participate, and it was an invitation that went out to the entire city. there are other ways that people have been sort of participating. cardinal timothy dolan led a chilling service at new york's st. patrick's cathedral this morning before a packed crowd and addressed the senseless killings that hours before had taken the lives of two of new york city's finest. >> i am with you.
commissioner bratton and chief o'neil, would you tell your officers that god's people gathered at st. patrick's cathedral this morning, thundered with prayer, with and for them? that we love them very much, we mourn with them, we need them, we respect them and we're proud of them and we thank them. would you tell them that, commissioner bratton and chief o'neil? am i correct in thinking that's your sentiment, everybody? [ applause ] we pray for our city, might unity and calm, reason and civility prevail as it has for us so often in the past. >> quite a remarkable moment. sitting next to each other during that mass, new york city mayor bill de blasio, police commissioner william bratton, and police chief james o'neil.
let's talk about this. joining me, michael daly, jumaane williams, gil alba and michael. you were there. what was it like? >> i'm afraid it sounds like we're losing michael's signal. so we will go back to him as soon as we get that reestablished just to get his insights. jumaane, let me ask you this. we already talked about the divide that was clearly evident between the mayor and the police department before the shootings. now you've had the shootings. has it gotten even worse? or is this an opportunity to call a truce? >> i think this is an opportunity to say let's sit down and discuss, but i -- i keep hearing each statement of rhetoric going higher and higher as opposed to going lower and lower, and that's something that's also frustrating to me. to say the mayor has blood on his hands, to say he's anti-cop,
doesn't make any sense when you can't point to anything that says that. and also, there was some discussions happening atcross te country. he's the mayor of new york city. this conversation needs to happen. we need to take the opportunity to mourn. my hope is some of the protests might die down for a day or two so people can mourn. >> it's a discussion that needs to be had across the nation. not just a new york event. we did get michael back again. michael, you were talking about how you were at that service when cardinal dolan delivered that statement. and prayer. what was it like? >> it was -- it was remarkable. it was the best single homily i ever heard, and that applause i only wish those officers could have heard that applause before they were murdered and i would hope that that applause will now continue as officers are still out there doing their job. it was -- i -- the cardinal's homily is available online.
i urge everybody to read it because it's the best single discussion i've heard of the christmas spirit in the midst of a dark tragedy that i ever, ever heard. >> i won't say this is an only in new york thing because it definitely isn't when people gather for their faith, but here you have the mayor, you have the police chief and the police commissioner, harry, they're all there, i guess in the same pew practically. >> right. >> how impactful is that on those three men? the cardinal's words, i'm talking about. >> yeah, the cardinal's words were amazing, and i think it made the police commissioner and mr. de blasio think twice, but as far as the people that support the police department, and that came out to the church and supported the people are -- i don't know what to say.
it's really hard for me because like you said, there's so much of a problem between the mayor and the police commissioner. >> yep. >> so it's really tough. >> okay. weigh in, gil, because i can tell even by your body language there that you're -- >> you know what, we keep going to the mayor and the police department and really he's saying approval about the mayor, these officers know the mayor does not like cops, okay? i don't really care what he says, but that's what they feel. however, they have to get together. our discussion, i think, is getting so far i way from the two officers who were new york city police officers. not only changed their clothes and went and sat in the car. they were doing overtime from a different precinct. >> let's bring it back to those two officers. >> i think that's true. that's how they feel. because of the rhetoric there's nothing to say the mayor doesn't support the police officers. >> it is about the two police officers. >> let me ask gil to finish that thought because it's a very appropriate one.
bring it back to these officers and the impact it has on the rest of the department because they're the ones who have to carry on, of course, their families as well, but the department professionally must carry on. >> it's not only the misdepartmemisdpolice department, it's the entire city. the officers, really, are coming there to help them. bedford-stuyresant's crime rate went down. they'll have 20,000 officers, people at the funeral there for the two officers so everybody is going to attend, but it's really across the board. you know, a lot of people are calling, from firemen, to everybody else, saying i'm sorry this particular thing happened. it's really akpos and really it's across america. >> okay. let me stop you there only because we'll take a break because we're going to have this discussion right after it. see you in a minute.
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standing with us. we want you to not use eric garner's name for violence, because we are not about that. these two police officers lost their life senselessly. >> that was eric garner's mother making a plea for peace. garner, as you recall, died from a police choke hold in new york city. there's some debate on that. a grand jury refused to indict in the case, and since then,
tensions have increased between new york police and mayor bill de blasio. but yesterday's shootings caused tensions to reach a boiling point. officers turned their backs on the mayor as he walked through the hospital to take part in a news conference following yesterday's shootings. they say de blasio threw them under the bus after the garner decision when he said he was, quote, astonished by the decision, unquote. and that instructed his biracial son to, quote, take special care, unquote, during any police encounters. that left feelings especially raw after officers wenjin liu and raphael ramos were then gunned down yesterday. >> there's blood on many hands tonight. those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protest that tried to tear down what new york city police officers did every day, we tried to warn it must not go on, it
cannot be tolerated. that blood on their hands starts on the steps of city hall, in the office of the mayor. >> with me now are new york city council member jumaane williams, retired new york detectives harry houck and gil alba, and michael daly, special correspondent for the "daily beast." how big is the divide between the mayor and the police force. >> apparently because of perceptions that is been out there, it's big. >> the worst ever that you know -- >> the question is, tensions between who? when i grew up in new york city under rudy giuliani, the tensions were much higher between segments of the population and the then-mayor, and it was all along kind of the same thing. and it's a conversation, i think, that every time we try to have it, this is what happens. and i think in honor, the police officers who lost their lives, as we're going forward, the
dangerous hyperbole and rhetoric is what we need to tamper down on so the conversation can proceed in a civil way. obviously it has to happen and it's bubbling and we have to be able to say we want a better educational system without saying we're anti-teacher. we have to be able to say we want a better police system without being anti-police. i am not anti-police. i actually support my police departments. i supported an increase in the police force. so none of us who have been talking about this on the council or the mayor are anti-this. >> this plays into the tragedy and how the city is going to recover from it. i know they're talking to harry and gil that you both believe this is about the worst relations have ever been between a police department in this city and a mayor. >> i've never seen it so bad. in 26 years i was a police officer here in new york city at all. we had probably the greatest relationship with mayor giuliani when he brought in mayor bratton. 1982 when i first came on the job -- >> mayor giuliani came out to
say there was blood on the mayor's hands was absolutely inappropriate for anyone to make that statement. >> i agree with that fullfy ful. i think he was definitely the part of the rhetoric that led to this but i don't think there's blood on the hands of the mayor at all. >> gil, you've never seen a divide this bad? >> i haven't. could it be cured? could they get together? yes, i believe they could do that. >> a public apology is what we've talked about, what you've said. >> that could be a possibility. even pat lynch saying that about blood on his hands, maybe he has to come out and do a public apology on that. you can't blame him for saying that at the time this happened. two of his men were killed. they have to get together. police have to get together with community groups. when i'm talking about community groups, those community groups in those locations, in these precincts. those are the people that have to get together. when outsiders come in and try to do that, that's what really hurts them more than having everybody tonight. >> councilman, do you see the mayor making a public apology to the police department?
>> i don't know what he's apoll jazzing for. in the days, he has to do more and more to show support. when the support is shown, is it received as support is another question. i wish people would point to me what the mayor said that would have to be apology. if the word is allegedly it, that's a lot to hang your hat on. if it is to describe a discussion that most black parents have, or most people who have children who are black and brown have about police, again, that is a realistic conversation. >> this was the conversation the mayor said he had with his son who's biracial. >> yes, that happens. my mother handed me a book called "the little black book" to explain how to survive an interaction. again, the problem is not being anti-police. we are supportive of the police department. many of them doing a great job. but there are real issues happening across the nation. one of which i believe is that we are being unfair to police by sending them into these communities without any other agencies to assist them. so they are the only ones there
that have to solve all the problems in these communities. we're setting ourselves up for problematic results. >> we talked about this, too, that the lessons here or the discussion here needs to go far beyond just the boroughs of new york, right? we're talking about tensions that exist in this country have existed for a long time. i think recent events have brought them to the forefront but have existed for a long time. it goes back to what we were discussing earlier, community policing and that really -- you two gentlemen who have been on the street believe it goes a long way to bringing back trust. >> right, because you really need to learn that a police officer isn't a robot that just comes in, makes an arrest and leaves. that he's a person. and like i said, i've been through this myself. sitting there and getting to know the people on your beat, talking to them. all right? walking down the street. closing the stores. maybe playing ball with the kids on the street so they get to know you. all right? start calling you by your name. not so much officer, but by your first name. i think that's a great way for the city to start to heal. i think that's a good way for
the communities to come together with the police. but it's a two-way street. it's not just a one-way street here. this is just, you know, the police officers are the bad guys here. it's not. you know? it's that the people have got to also reach out to the police department, themselves. and that's, i think that's where we'll start to gain a lot more trust. >> we'll continue this. we're going to take a quick break. come back in just a moment to take it further down the road. l arthritis lasts 8 hours but aleve can last 12 hours. and aleve is proven to work better on pain than tylenol arthritis. so why am i still thinking about this? how are ya? good. aleve. proven better on pain.